Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Govt. denying PTSD

December 27, 2005


The Bush administration is twisting itself into a pretzel trying to find
ways not to diagnose soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including altering the diagnostic
criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association-- that's
the essence of a first-rate piece of reporting in today's Washington
article, by staffer Shankar Vedantam, relates the attempt to have
politics dictate medicine. "Larry Scott, who runs the clearinghouse , said conservative groups are trying to cut
VA disability programs by unfairly comparing them to welfare.
"Compensating people for disabilities is a cost of war, he said:
"Veterans benefits are like workmen's comp. You went to war. You were
injured. Either your body or your mind was injured, and that prevents
you from doing certain duties and you are compensated for that." Not
cited by the WashPost was a New England Journal of Medicine study
showing that 1 in 6 Iraq vets are suffering from PTSD -- and less than
half of them seek treatment..

"Scott said Veterans Affairs' objectives were made clear in the
department's request to the Institute of Medicine for a $1.3 million
study to review how PTSD is diagnosed and treated," the WashPost
continued. "Among other things, the department asked the institute -- a
branch of the National Academies chartered by Congress to advise the
government on science policy -- to review the American Psychiatric
Association's criteria for diagnosing PTSD. Effectively, Scott said,
Veterans Affairs was trying to get one scientific organization to
second-guess another.

"PTSD experts summoned to Philadelphia for the two-day internal "expert
panel" meeting were asked to discuss "evidence regarding validity,
reliability, and feasibility" of the department's PTSD assessment and
treatment practices, according to an e-mail invitation obtained by The
Washington Post. The goal, the e-mail added, is "to improve clinical
exams used to help determine benefit payments for veterans with Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder."

"What they are trying to do is figure out a way not to diagnose vets
with Natl_gulf_resource_center_logo
PTSD," said Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War
Resource Center <>, a veterans advocacy group.
"It's like telling a patient with cancer, 'if we tell you, you don't
have cancer, then you won't suffer from cancer.' ..." The article makes
the politics of this administration effort clear: "The growing national
debate over the Iraq war has changed the nature of the discussion over
PTSD, some participants said. "It has become a pro-war-versus-antiwar
issue," said one VA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity
because politics is not supposed to enter the debate. "If we show that
PTSD is prevalent and severe, that becomes one more little reason we
should stop waging war. If, on the other hand, PTSD rates are low . . .
that is convenient for the Bush administration."

Earlier this year, USA Today reported in a lengthy article on PTSD
that, "Of the 244,054 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan already
discharged from service, 12,422 have been in VA counseling centers for
readjustment problems and symptoms associated with PTSD." And that's an
obvious undercount, for, as USA Today added, "Many of the most common
wounds aren't seen until soldiers return home. Post-traumatic stress
disorder, or PTSD, is an often-debilitating mental condition that can
produce a range of unwanted emotional responses to the trauma of combat.
It can emerge weeks, months or years later. If left untreated, it can
severely affect the lives not only of veterans, but their families as
well." And the WashPost article underscored that many Iraq-Afghanistan
vets suffering from PTSD are afraid to seek treatment, both because of
the stigma attached to a mental disorder, and because the Bush
administration's humiliating toughening of the criteria for diagnosing
PTSD means the vets have to relive the very horrifying episodes that
provoked the profound mental troubles. Moreover, "A study published in
the New England Journal of Medicine found that one out of six soldiers
surveyed may be struggling with PTSD," ABC News reported
<>two weeks ago.
You can read the New England Journal of Medicine study by clicking here.

PTSD has also become a budget issue:"In the past five years, the number
of veterans receiving compensation for the disorder commonly called PTSD
has grown nearly seven times as fast as the number receiving benefits
for disabilities in general, according to a report this year by the
inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A total of
215,871 veterans received PTSD benefit payments last year at a cost of
$4.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 1999 -- a jump of more than 150
percent." And those numbers don't even reflect the full impact that will
be felt when the boys currently occupying Iraq and fighting in
Afghanistan return. So many soldiers are being driven 'round the bend by
their service in an illegal war and occupation that now the Bushies are
trying to exercise cost control by refusing to diagnose them! You can --
and should -- read the entire fascinating WashPost article by clicking
And for more information on the PTSD issue, visit the National Gulf War
Resources Center webpage
<> devoted to it, and
the VA Watch site <>, both of which have lots
of links. The National Center for PTSD
<> also has a lot of relevant
material, including an Iraq Clinician's Guide

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Follow up on Vet benefits debate





Everybody needs a job.  But, most jobs allow you to end the day with a clear conscience.  Dr. Sally Satel's job is not one of those.

In today's front page story in the Washington Post on the politics and money of PTSD (story here... ) Dr. Satel, once again, demeans veterans with her comments about PTSD.

Quote:  Psychiatrist Sally Satel, who is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said an underground network advises veterans where to go for the best chance of being declared disabled. The institute organized a recent meeting to discuss PTSD among veterans. 

An "underground network" of veterans?  Dr. Satel's conspiracy theories don't hold water.

Earlier this year I reported on an article written by Dr. Satel that also appeared in the Washington Post.  (Article here... )  In this article, Dr. Satel wrote that mental illness is diagnosed too often and went to great lengths to paint mental illnesses, including PTSD, as normal.

Quote:  Most of us - and most veterans - will never have a serious mental illness. Will we have periods of intense sadness, frustration, anxiety and insecurity? Sure. Not because we are ill, but because we are human. And being human is not a condition in need of a cure.

This is trying to sell the concept of "lesser need"...the problem is not so bad, therefore, there is a "lesser need" for treatment and compensation.  Lots of money is being spent and lots of ink is being spilled to sell "lesser need" and convince the public that the issue of PTSD in veterans is not important.

Dr. Satel is a "hired gun" for the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute.  She writes what she is told, whether it is scientifically valid or not.

But, Dr. Satel just doesn't demean veterans and belittle PTSD.  She has had a long career as a "hired gun," including a stint for the tobacco industry.

Below is from an email I received this morning.  Thanks to the writer for the great research...


Dr. Satel is apparently close to Vice President and Ms. Cheney, works for the AEI, and appears to be the administration's "go-to" physician for reduction of health care and benefits.

In spite of her approximately 5 years at a VA hospital in Connecticut in the early 90's, there is no CAVC case mentioning her.

In the case of Farmer v. Ramsay, 159 F.Supp.2d 873, D.Md.,2001, the court found (the case is a reverse racial discrimination case seeking to allow white applicant into medical school over minority student applicants with lesser MCAT scores. Satel was expert for the white applicant):

"The Defendants have filed a motion to strike Dr. Satel's report on the grounds that it lacks the necessary indicia of reliability required under FRE 702. The Court agrees and will, by separate order, grant the motion. Satel offers little more than her personal opinion of Farmer's application and the weight that UMSM should have placed on his MCAT scores.
Satel has no familiarity with UMSM; she lacks an extensive background in medical school admissions; she reviewed a total of only five applications; her work has not been subjected to any peer review; and her opinions are not based on a methodology that can be tested. Accordingly, her views lack the indicia of reliability required under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993). See Samuel v. Ford Motor Co., 96 F.Supp.2d 491, 493 (D.Md.2000).

Even if Dr. Satel's report were admissible, the Court could not accord it much, if any, weight. As stated, the report consists entirely of Satel's personal evaluation of the applications. A plaintiff's (or his expert's) personal evaluation of his own qualifications is, however, irrelevant. Courts have repeatedly held that such subjective personal judgments do not raise a genuine issue of material fact. See Smith v. Flax, 618 F.2d 1062, 1067 (4th Cir.1980); Bradley v. Harcourt, Brace and Co., 104 F.3d 267, 270 (9th Cir.1996); Williams v. Cerberonics, Inc., 871 F.2d 452, 456 (4th Cir.1989). Applications of Minorities Not Interviewed".

The Court found that Dr. Satel’s credibility and so called expertise was so unreliable that her findings had to be stricken by law without waiting for cross-examination. Dr. Satel appears to be a “mouthpiece” for sale to any neoconservative cause. Rubbing her nose in this case may diminish her power in her fight against veterans.

Satel is also a "go-to" physician for the tobacco industry. See:

Likewise, Satel is also the "go-to" physician for the silicone gel-filled breast implants industry. See:

There are even some people besides me who question Dr. Satel's motives. See:

See also: and

Dr. Satel appears to be another "Jeff Gannon" spin, hype and eyewash agent for the administration.

These Satel efforts are heavily financed and closely coordinated to coincide with the coming reduction of veteran's psychiatric benefits. We saw a similar tactic in 1980 when the Reagan administration reduced the number of vets on TDIU from 120,000 to 60,000.



Larry Scott

(go back to VA Watchdog dot Org Home Page)

Enter an email address in the box to the left...and...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Jesus Reporting

Jesus takes right wing to task

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas suggestion

Bush urges Americans to spy on each other this holiday
Calls invasion of privacy ‘the gift that keeps on giving’

By Andy Borowitz
The Borowitz Report
December 20, 2005

IN A SPECIAL pre-holiday address to the American people, George W. Bush today said that the upcoming holiday season affords all Americans a unique opportunity to spy on their neighbors, and urged his fellow citizens to do so.

"My fellow Americans, over the holidays many of you will be receiving new camcorders as gifts," Mr. Bush told his national television audience. "Instead of making boring home movies of your children, point the camera at the house next door and see what your neighbors are up to."

Saying that the people next door "might be evildoers," Mr. Bush said that by spying on one’s neighbors, "You’re going to find out who’s naughty or nice."

Coming just days after he defended his own practice of wiretapping phone conversations without a court warrant, Mr. Bush’s exhortation to the American people to snoop on one another over the holidays was the latest indication that he intends to ramp up domestic spying in the new year.

"Invasion of privacy is the gift that keeps on giving," the president said.

Perhaps in an attempt to preempt criticism of his domestic spying program, Mr. Bush added that he was "more than willing" to let the government spy on him.

"Go ahead, get a list of every library book I’ve taken out in the last five years," he said. "You won’t find anything."

Elsewhere, a new report shows that China now has the fourth largest economy in the world, after the United States, Japan, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hurrah, God May be answering Bush's prayer on Iraq

It is the DIPLOMACY of the State Dept. to decrease
insurgent violence, not the MILITARY training of Iraqi
troops that is finally heralding our troops withdrawal
from Iraq. Ambassador to Baghdad Zal Khalilzad is
living proof of how much America gains from being a
melting pot, providing education and citizenship to
people from everywhere; just as Sec. of State Condi
Rice-- like her predecessor, Gen. Powell-- are
irrefutable evidence of the rich treasure of talent,
because of prejudice often untapped, in our Black

After Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons hogged Iraq war
policy to themselves and made a bloody mess of it.
When it got to be too hot a potato for these
incompetents to handle, they tossed it in the air.
Sec. Rice caught it and passed it on to her colleague
Amb. Khalilzad who, it seems, made a touchdown in that
Mr. Bush's prayers may finally be undergoing

Someone convinced President Bush that Iraq is not
Vietnam. In Vietnam we faced an enemy's entire regular
army operating from safe bases we could not touch
though they were near our perimeter-- never more than
30 miles from South Vietnam's main cities. That enemy
was backed up by the total arms production of the
Communist Bloc, of which Ho Chi Minh considered
Vietnam "a revolutionary outpost."

But Saddam's Iraq was an isolated nation despised by
all its neighbors. Twice it had its forces slaughtered
by US firepower and had no way to get resupply through
the UN embargo in more than a trickle. Thus, Gen.
Tommy Franks self-congratulation for overwhelming
Saddam's forces and entering Iraq are, given the power
ratio then, utter bravado bragging. Proof of that is
that when we faced Saddam's real defense plan-- a
guerrilla war-- we stalled and were more than matched
to this day. In self-defense, we fired almost
indiscriminately. Our "smart" bombs could not be very
smart given that we were totally intelligence blind.
So we killed a lot of innocent Iraqis, turning the
survivors into shaheeds sworn to avenge the victims.
That's when things balanced out; it was a force of
lightly armed guerrillas against a fully armed force
with air support. But, while their men didn't care if
they lived or died, our men desperately wanted to live
and return to their families. For almost three years
blood was shed under Rumsfeld's arrogant but incapable
hogging of leadership. He surrounded himself with
opportunist "yes sir" generals, hungry for another
star, who were selected for their dullness so that
they would not shine over him. That's what Washington
bureaucracies are like, except that this one wasted
the lives of a lot of American heroes and Iraqi
innocents. All through this, Bush was, as Maureen Dowd
would say, "unengaged." But when his political
standing was at risk, he passed authority from Rummy
to Condi. Sure enough, it took a girl to repair

As pointed out by Gen. Shahwani, head of Iraqi
intelligence, the Rummy Way has made the insurgent
force grow from nothing to over 200,000 fighters,
greater that our Alliance expeditionary force. We
think of the Iraq people as divided into the Shi'ia,
Sunnis and Kurds. Actually, these groups heavily
intermarried and had been forced to shed a lot of
blood for what they considered "Iraq." Thus, except
for some ambiguity amongst the Kurds, they consider
themselves, for better or worse, one people glued
together by the blood of all the Iraqi soldiers who
sacrificed their lives for their nation. They are,
therefore, desperately trying to come up with some
sort of government under which they can all live as
one people.

Amb. Kalilzad asked himself: what do you do when you
know that you are not seen as a liberator but as an
occupier and are overcome by resistance from
guerrillas whose culture and language your forces just
don't understand?

The simple answer of course, is that since you
couldn't prove to them that you came as a liberator,
not an occupier, now at least, try to prove to them
that you don't really want to stay indefinitely.

So he went to the insurgents with an offer: We
Americans will decrease our "footprint" in Iraq,
allowing your own forces, for better or worse, to keep
order. You first participate in the political process
(beginning with elections in December 2005) and lower
the level of violence. As the participation in
politics increases and the violence decreases, we
will, more and more, sequester our troops into
designated bases. And, if the participation in
politics and the decrease in violence persist, we will
from these bases gradually withdraw our troops down to
a few liaison units that coordinates the logistics of
your national army.

There is a whole spectrum of Shi'ia interests in Iraq,
though the vast majority, from the followers of Iran
to the Iraqi nationalists than hate Iranians. Sunnis
are less varied but also really a loose congregation
of local interests. Even the Kurds, that seem so
united, are really just a bunch of tribal mafias that
could never get together to form a nation of their
own. There are so many loose bricks in the edifice
called Iraq that nobody knows what configuration will
finally produce a stable state with some modicum of
democratic pluralism. But the point is that whatever
incentive there is to remake Iraq, and there is a lot
especially amongst the young and women, there is now a
great incentive that Khalilzad got Iraqis to fully
appreciate: the more the government can function and
the less violence occurs, the sooner the Americans
leave. Much of the remaining violence comes from
criminal gangs and some foreign religious zealots. But
it will never be so much that a unity government on
its own soil can't handle it.

Today we hear a lot of screaming in Baghdad about the
election being a fraud. But, according to my Iraqi
sources, if one looks at Saddam's trial and the crazy
behavior of the Iraqis in the docket something becomes
clear: so long as the judge and prosecutor and lawyers
patiently stick it out, meticulously following legal
procedures, eventually the court will come to a fair
judgment. It is the same with the Iraqi Parliament.
There will be screaming and cursing and all sorts of
threats. But none of the verbal brickbat is the same
as a bomb going off. There will also be tinny groups
trying to derail the process with a bang here or
there. But so long as the parliamentarians jaw, jaw,
jaw with eachother instead of kill, kill, kill
eachother, the Iraqi ship of state is steady as she
goes on course!

The most important incentive is for America to
reciprocate with an ever shrinking military footprint,
even if sometimes it seems to make our soldiers feel
more vulnerable not responding to provocation. We just
can't have peace in Iraq if we repeat the devastation
we wrought on Falluja.

Amb. Kalilzad will always have enough troops at his
disposal to intimidate any politicians back into line
that want to return to violence. Yet himself a Muslim,
he fully appreciates the importance of face and so
knows how to salvage the pride of those he has to push
back onto the job of governing through compromise.
Choosing him as ambassador to Baghdad deserves a Medal
of Freedom to ever faithful American Sec. Condi Rice.
She is the one who is really saving GW Bush's Iraq War
standing up for Amb. Khalilzad in the Cabinet!

Mr. Bush's contribution, I guess, was to pray and pray
a lot for some modicum of success in Iraq. It looks
like God appreciates the sudden humility Bush decided
to show in his speeches, much like a repentant sinner.
But that's fine by me and by any American, Republican
or Democrat, because we all want our efforts in Iraq
to bear fruit. However, there is always the little
Lucifer-- Mr. Bush appropriately nicknamed "Vice"--
trying to catch his ear. If Mr. Bush ever lets Cheney
catch his attention, all that Sec. Rice and Amb.
Khalilzad have salvaged will come to naught. So, Mr.
Bush, should keep Cheney locked up in the basement.
There is no need to feel sorry for him, for his
company, Halliburton, seem to have stolen more than
they ever dreamed they could get away with from our
Iraq effort. As for Rumsfeld, his hubris is its own
reward-- and punishment. He had hoped to some day be
president and to do it, as Nixon said of him, in the
way of the shark-- cannibalizing his opponents in the
Republican Party. Well, now this shark just lost the
last set of real teeth in Iraq. From the way he lies
all the time, the present set of FALSE teeth he sports
can easily be discerned when he gives his sharky
smile. As Cheney would say, Rumsfled, "is toast."

Some might think that Mr. Bush got away more lucky
than he deserves. But in fact, the more time passes,
the more the American people will discover how little
character and command he has exhibited. He thought
that he was pulling it off; and with some he has. But
history has a long memory and there is little hope
that in the remaining three years he can do much that
will cover-up his failed presidency.

Yet, this moment of Bush humility, even if contrived,
if it is good enough for God to answer his prayers on
Iraq, it is good enough for me. I had hoped that I
might be pleasantly surprised by a total Bush
re-Salvation and come to him and apologize for
under-estimating him and decrying his lack of moral
fiber; but I guess I have to live with the
disappointment of his ever ready reliance on attempted
deception through the Rove alchemy of trying to turn
dirt into gold.

Most importantly, the American people must realize
that if we are to survive as a great nation, we must
consider every volunteer hero-- remember they all
VOLUNTEERED!!-- we sent into combat to be our own son
or daughter. There is no room, if America is to
survive, for the "ain't my kid goin' to Iraq" syndrome
of disconnection. Fortunately, soon we will all get a
chance to make up for our self-absorbed "disconnect"
when OUR hero kids come home and need a neighborly
hand and veterans benefits to restart their lives.

Lastly, as for myself, being an American by choice,
not by chance, I was so disgusted with the disconnect
and all those expensive Vietnam lessons never learned,
that I was ready to renounce my American citizenship,
the one I took so that I could go to Vietnam. But
fortunately, it is not likely that I would do that so
long as there is still one brave American like
Congressman Murtha who fought for his country as a
young man and again, risked all, fighting for it as an
old man. While other heroic grunts from Vietnam who
made a career in the Pentagon stopped caring about the
grunts of today and just brown-nose incompetent
Rumsfeld's for another star, Murtha alone stood up and
said: enough, stop killing MY kids!

Whether his proposed policy of withdrawal is right or
wrong, I certainly feel it was most apropos, promoting
serious debate about ways to peace, just in time to
welcome the Prince of Peace in this the season when we
celebrate His birth.

I wish you all the spiritual comfort of these
Holidays, knowing that God loves us all equally-- even
Cheney, Rumsfelf, the neocons and Saddam. But perhaps
more Heavenly Kindness can be asked of God by us all
for the families that now suffer the tragic loss of a
son or daughter fallen in battle. In fact, we all
should share their grief with them, letting them know
that those who fell are sons and daughters of us all;
and so, their grief is equally ours, casting a shadow
on on Holidays joy, provoking need to give comfort and
get comfort, extending it throughout the nation as a

Lastly, may the New Year bring America to feel that
its sons and daughters did NOT fight and fall in vain
as in so many other wars. If a successful peace is
what we end up with, then Sec. Rice and Amb. Khalilzad
certainly deserve to be named in our toasts to the New

And a word to Mr. Bush: there are no prizes for
deception and spin. Lest you open your heart to your
fellow Americans and realize that to "lead" is to
convince with truth and not manipulation in the Rove
way, you will be remembered as the source of our
greatest self-deception as a people who re-elected
you. History is merciless; Clio, the muse of history
will in time talk the truth loud and clear, no matter
how much documentation you order shred, classify or
avoid putting down on paper. I would hope his present
problems make that clear to him.

But this is the Season we celebrate the Lord's birth--
when we all recall what fallen sinners we are and so,
in seeking the Lord's forgiveness, earn it by
forgiving eachother so that we may feel hope in the
future, together.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

Daniel E. Teodoru

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Seperated at birth

Audio of Bush Saying Wiretaps Require a Court Order

go to this site and click on the word audio

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Let sunlight disinfect the people's White House

Trying to understand why this president signed off on
violation of the law to snoop in on American privacy
by the National Security Agency, one is more alarmed
by the intent than by the act. The Administration has,
by law, an automatic 72 hrs. in which to snoop before
it needs a special court order; so going around the
law was unnecessary. The argument about urgency seems,
like most explanations emanating from this White
House, so stupid it could not possibly be a contrived
deliberate lie, for almost anyone could do better. But
that is how Mr. Bush & Co. are and therefore one would
do well to look for understanding it all elsewhere.

A shadowy figure that for a long time, to many, seemed
a stereotype "rosebud" of the amoral, unprincipled and
bent on deception captain of industry (though his
cognitive mediocrity is the bane of the White house)
is Vice President Cheney, whom Mr. Bush appropriately
nicknamed "Vice."

None of the "macho" bravados around Mr. Bush could
accept that 9/11 was the product of corporate
recklessness; it goes against their predatory
mercantile ideology to introspect. After repeated
skyjacks through the 1970s, it was decided to make the
pilot's compartment on airliners impenetrable and to
put two sky-marshals on every plane. But this seemed
too expensive and, as an airline executive
sardonically said AFTER 9/11: "The First Class
passengers pay a lot of money so they deserve to be
able to see that there's someone at the controls."
This sarcastic excuse for leaving the pilot's door
open seems infuriating (a violation of FFA rules). But
there it was, a vulnerability picked up on by Mr. Atta
and his alQaeda suicide-killer team. Rather than face
up to the consequences wrought by corporate greed,
making 9/11 our fault for so recklessly leaving civil
aircraft vulnerable to the likes of Atta, we deemed
their exploitation an act of diabolic brilliance,
perpetrated by a gargantuan stateless monster,
al-Qaeda. From then on to now, Mr. Bush would excuse
all his impeachable offenses as necessary to keep
ahead of the terrorists for cleverly "they adapt."
That image caused a self induced panic on the part of
the mediocre Bushies (political hacks with few skills,
prototype for which is the infamous Mr. Brown of

While Bush was flying around aimlessly in Air Force
One, Cheney did what he had practiced for during the
Reagan years. Though private citizens, he and
Rumsfeld would each month go off to a special
designated cave to exercise takeover of the government
in case the Soviets nuked the White House with the
president in it. Asked why they don't take members of
Congress on these exercises, they responded that,
under attack in case of war, the government could not
afford to be run by the mind set of members of
Congress, as prescribed by the Constitution. But why
these two, of all people, was never explained.
Fortunately, the Soviets never nuked us and
fortunately, Rumsfeld and Cheney never got to take
over as the government. But on 9/11, by keeping
President Bush aloft making lazy circles in the sky,
Cheney got to be president long enough to set in
motion practices that are just now beginning to be

An utter mediocrity prone to drama, Cheney thought
ahead. While he set in motion White House superseding
of all laws as if the nation were under marshal law,
he was thinking far ahead. At that time, all
Washington DC bureaucrats followed his lead
unquestioningly, for another attentat was expected.
But thinking ahead, Cheney realized that if already in
practice when things simmer down, the American people
may well accept an utter abrogation of their civil
rights. Thus, so long as the President dramatically
argues that the nation is at war and, indeed, in
self-defense mode, the Administrations inner minions
could feel themselves unencumbered by accountability
to anyone. This would not only hide from view their
ingrained incompetence, but would render invisible all
sorts of grand schemes to push America back to the
19th Century when it was owned and plundered by the
Robber Barons.

Bit by bit, the larcenous, if not the murderous, side
of the Vice, the Darth Vedar of this administration,
will become known as the Democrats become the majority
in one or both Houses of Congress and initiate in
depth Congressional Hearings to investigate the GW
Bush era of civil rights abrogation. That day may upon
us even earlier as Republican Congressmen realize that
it's time for the rats to desert the sinking ship. So
they may initiate the hearings in order to exculpate
themselves. But even if they don't, the Republican Era
in Congress may come crashing with a dusty roar, for
no less that 48 members of the House of
Representatives are doomed in their legislative
careers of larceny of some degree or other as
Republican lobbyist Abramov begins to sing loud and
clear to the prosecutors in order to cut down his
prison time.

To those of us who kept up with the press, much of
what will be exposed will be no surprise because
middle level military and Executive Branch apolitical
bureaucrats leaked, each a little here and a little
there, to make a torrent of transparency in what was
supposed to be a hermetically sealed administration
well maintained in total darkness.

But the Bushies are not only notorious incompetents
but also utter cowards. Faced with a purgery charge,
like Mafia captains, they will sing each other right
into the prosecutor's handcuffs. By the time Mr. Bush
leaves the White House he may have made Nixon
Administration cynicism seem like spiritualism. For
behind the humble Christian veneer is an evil that can
only come from incompetents too avaricious to realize,
as Lincoln said, that you can fool some of the people
some of the time but never all of the people all of
the time. From the feeling that they got away with
their foolish nasty child hubris, they have attained
internal license against any thread of ethical limits.
Unable to feel the pain of those they victimized, they
wallow in their mirth over how they pulled it off.
That leaves them defenseless before a serious probe.
The Fitzgerald relentless investigation into the Plame
Affair is a foretaste of how when in jeopardy they
squeal, rating on each other. What those of us who are
glued to the TV screen after 2006 to see the
Congressional investigations unfold will need in order
to see this process through is anti-emetics to keep us
from vomiting. For nothing sickens a veteran more than
to see what horror of a leadership was made possible
by his thinking that after putting his life on the
line fighting for his country, he can take time from
watchful citizenship to rebuild what's left of his

As the sunshine penetrates through all the leaks, I
feel sorry for the the soldiers returning from Iraq.
As needs be done to function in combat, many of them
convinced themselves that they are fighting for
something truly worth putting their lives on the line
for.Alas, the sunshine that disinfects will be the
sunshine that horrifies and enrages them. I hope all
those of us who had a preview from being back home
will find a way to make them realize that we will join
them in making sure that another Bush Era does not
recur through relentless public education.

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A test

Who said this?
Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any
time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it
requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by
the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking
about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our
fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act,
constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is
necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

The Would-Be Dictator

The Would-Be Dictator

December 20, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers <>

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just as
long as I'm the dictator."

-- George W. Bush, December 18, 2000
<> (during his
first trip to Washington as President-elect)

It's clear that Bush violated the law by ordering the National Security
Agency to engage in domestic spying. So, once again, I have a question
for those who, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, voted for George Bush: NOW
do you get it?

I posed that same question
<> several months ago,
in the wake of the stupendous Bush Administration incompetency that left
thousands dead and homeless after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Now more
and more facts are being revealed (about spying, torturing, lying) that
should make it obvious that those residing in the White House are not
only bumblers on a grand scale but dangerous to the current and future
health of our democratic republic. They should be impeached and removed
ASAP before they take us all down with them.

We already knew how they lied and deceived the nation into supporting a
war against a country that was weak, contained, posing little or no
imminent threat to any of its neighbors, and certainly not to the United
States. (Recent polls indicate that nearly two-thirds of Americans
believe the war was a mistake and the figures are rising for those who
think the occupation should be ended as soon as possible.) We already
knew how the Bush Administration had effectively turned over
environmental and public-health regulation to the polluting industries
and drug companies.

But these new revelations about secretly ordering warrentless domestic
spying is, as one senator said, an "astounding" violation of how America
works as a country of laws.

How could this have happened in a free society? The reasons are many and
various, including a corporate-owned mass media that knew a lot more
than it was telling its readers. But before we get to the spying and
torture scandals - and the twisted legal reasoning that Bush&Co. use to
justify their violating laws whenever they feel like it - here's my
abbreviated chronological take on how we got to this place:

<>continued here

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just in time for Christmas

On sale at the White House gift shop:

Constitution Toilet Paper: Cheap.

You thought the Administration was the only one who could wipe their ass with the consitution. You were wrong! Now you can follow in the footsteps of the most corrupt Administration in American History by wiping your ass on the US Constitution.

Feel the ink on your ass cheeks! Feel the parchment texture as you prevent skidmarks on your underwear.

Testimonial: "Now I can be like Antonin Scalia, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and George Bush all in the privacy of my own trailer" J. Robinson; Fresno, CA

Testimonial: "With constitution toilet paper I bought at the White House, I can feel even more powerful. The shit that comes out of my mouth is protected by it, the shit that comes out of my ass is cleaned up by it." J. Arpaio; Phoenix, AZ

Testimonial: "Constitution Toilet Paper reminds me that I can do whatever I want, because the Constitution is really just a 227 year old peace of toilet paper." Police Chiefs of America.

Testimonial: "Thanks to Constitution Toilet Paper, I can spy on Americans." G. Bush; Stamford, Connecticut or Crawford, Texas (which ever one will make me more popular).

Yes, you too can be like Modern Republicans and use the Constitution as Toilet Paper. All with Constitution Toilet Paper!

On sale individually for a Pioneer sized donation, or in bulk for a Ranger sized donation!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

War on Christmas spreading

Santas Go on Rampage in New Zealand City

Sat Dec 17,11:39 PM ET
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, many of them drunk, rampaged through New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores and assaulting security guards, police said Sunday.
The rampage, dubbed "Santarchy" by local newspapers, began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an Auckland overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty.
She said the men then rushed through a central city park, overturning garbage containers, throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti on buildings.
One man climbed the mooring line of a cruise ship before being ordered down by the captain. Other Santas, objecting when the man was arrested, attacked security staff, Hegarty said.
The remaining Santas entered a downtown convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.
"They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves," store owner Changa Manakynda said.
Alex Dyer, a spokesman for the group, said Santarchy was a worldwide movement designed to protest the commercialization of Christmas.

Be afraid, be very afraid

Friday, December 16, 2005

If The President Does It It's Not Illegal

by digby

Oh for Gawd's sakes. Tom Brokaw is on Matthews boo-hooing that this NSA story stepped on Junior's wonderful Iraq triumph. He explains that when you are at war you need to do things that are difficult and believes that most people in the country will agree that the administration needed to spy on Americans after 9/11. He agrees with analyst Roger Cressy (who I used to think was sane) that once the "window" of a possible impending attack closed they should have gone up to the hill and sought permission to keep spying on Americans with no judicial oversight. (I haven't heard about this "window" before. Tom and Roger both seem to have a fantasy that the administration would not simply say that the "window" remains open as long as evil exists in the world.)

Look, the problem here, again, is not one of just spying on Americans, as repulsively totalitarian as that is. It's that the administration adopted John Yoo's theory of presidential infallibility. But, of course, it wasn't really John Yoo's theory at all; it was Dick Cheney's muse, Richard Nixon who said, "when the President does it, that means it's not illegal."

This was not some off the cuff statement. It was based upon a serious constitutional theory --- that the congress or the judiciary (and by inference the laws they promulgate and interpret) have no authority over an equal branch of government. The president, in the pursuit of his duties as president, is not subject to the laws. Citizens can offer their judgment of his performance every four years at the ballot box.

After the election, George W. Bush said this:

The Post: ...Why hasn't anyone been held accountable, either through firings or demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election.

He, like Nixon, believes that the president has only one "accountability moment" while he is president. His re-election. Beyond that, he has been given a blank check. And that includes breaking the law since if the president does it, it's not illegal, the president being the executive branch which is not subject to any other branch of govenrment.

John Yoo, the former deputy attorney general who wrote many of the opinion undergirding these findings (on torture as well as spying) explains that the congress has no right to abridge the president's warmaking powers. Its only constitutional remedy to a war with which they disagree is to deny funding; they can leave the troops on the field with no food or bullets.

I suspect that there are many more of these instances out there in which the administration has simply ignored the law. They believe that the constitution explicitly authorizes them to do so.

After 9/11 these people went crazy and convinced themselves that the country was in such mortal, exitential danger that this theory of imperial presidential perogative was a necessity. They say they are doing it to protect the citizens of this country. But one thing that American conservatives used to understand was that our system of government was forged by people who understood that too much power invested in one place is dangerous and that sometimes the people needed to be protected from their own government. That's fundamental to our laborious process of checks and balances and a free press. (Indeed, it was that principle on which they based their absolutist stand on the second amendment.)

Now we hear conservative commentators like Ronald Kessler, who was just interviewed (alone) on FoxNews, opining that the president did nothing illegal and was completely within his rights to spy on Americans. There is no longer any question that the government would ever abuse its power by, for instance, spying on Americans for political purposes and even if it did, we're fighting for our lives and we have to accept these infringements for our own safety. I'm quite sure he'll agree that a President Howard Dean should be given the same level of trust, aren't you?

I think the president said it best:

"If this were a dictatorship we'd have it a lot easier. Just so long as I'm the dictator."


A commenter to Larry Johnson's post over at TPM (reminding us that John Bolton was involved in some doing about NSA intercepts and American citizens) gives a nice historical view of the Yoo Doctrine:

Re: Spying on Americans and John Bolton (5.00 / 2) (#31)
by JamesW on Dec 16, 2005 -- 06:23:50 PM EST

The second part of the Yoo Doctrine is critical: it's the President, not Congress, who decides whether the country is at war or not.

In an extreme Tory argument, Yoo can just about argue that this was English 18th-century doctrine, but since Parliament rigorously controlled the purse-strings, it surely wasn't practice after 1688. [Yoo does make this argument --- ed] I doubt if English Whigs like Fox accepted the theory either, let alone American rebels.

Where Yoo surely parts company with any sane constitutional thinking since the Roman Republic is the extension that the monarch/president gets to decide what counts as a war. For George III, George Washington, Lincoln. Woodrow Wilson and FDR, war is an organised conflict between societies or social groups. Police actions against pirates, slavers, and terrorists are not war. By treating the rhetorical "war on terror", infinitely redefinable, as a real war with war's legal consequences, the Bush administration has entered the 1984 terrain of totalitarianism.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The buggle call for NJVETCAUCUS to volunteer and help in campaigns


December 17, 2005
Red District, Blue Candidate, Purple Heart
CHICAGO, Dec. 16 - During 13 months of rehabilitation
at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, Maj.
L. Tammy Duckworth says, she did a lot of reading
about American schoolchildren "losing our competitive
advantage" with China. Encountering questions about
her top-of-the-line prostheses while walking around a
shopping mall, she says, made her ponder inequities in
America's health care system.

And there was plenty of time to critique the Bush
administration's prosecution of the war in Iraq, where
she lost both legs and partial use of her right arm
when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Black Hawk
helicopter she was flying over the Tigris River.

So Ms. Duckworth, who was discharged from Walter Reed
on Wednesday and from active duty the day before,
decided to run for Congress, joining a growing group
of a dozen Iraq veterans running next year - most,
like her, as Democrats.

"I had my legs blown off in Iraq, and because I had my
legs blown off in Iraq people are listening to me,"
said Ms. Duckworth, 37, who plans to announce her
candidacy officially on Sunday, at a rally and in an
appearance on the ABC News program "This Week." "I'm
not going to get my legs back, and that's fine, but if
that gives me a platform to talk about the things that
are important to me, like education and jobs, that's

Ms. Duckworth is seeking her party's nomination in a
March 21 primary for the seat being vacated after 32
years by Representative Henry J. Hyde, a powerful
Republican, in a swath of suburban Chicago that has
lately become more Democratic. The district would be a
prize for the Democrats in their effort to retake
control of the House.

Political analysts and the national Democratic leaders
who recruited her say Ms. Duckworth and the other
veterans could help Democrats gain traction on crucial
issues of national security, where Republicans often
have the edge. Paul L. Hackett, who commanded a Marine
unit in Iraq, made a surprisingly strong showing in a
special Congressional election this summer in Ohio,
earning 48 percent of the vote in a heavily Republican
district. That outcome propelled Mr. Hackett into a
race for the Democratic nomination to challenge
Senator Mike DeWine next year and inspired several
fellow veterans to undertake their own campaigns.

What the Democratic leaders are looking for is
"somebody who can deliver a message on Iraq but the
messenger won't be instantly discredited as a
typically liberal Democrat - that's the theory of the
formula," explained Amy Walter, who follows House
races for The Cook Political Report, the
quintessential Washington handicapper. The veterans,
Ms. Walter added, "have an instant level of
credibility to talk about that."

Indeed, Ms. Duckworth, who received the Air Medal as
well as a Purple Heart, already has the talking points
down: "My role in the Army gives me the courage to
make the tough decisions," is one of her lines. And:
"Those of us who've served on the ground have a unique
perspective on the war and on what it means to serve
in combat."

In a telephone interview Friday as part of a carefully
orchestrated rollout of her campaign, Ms. Duckworth
said that she had opposed the invasion of Iraq from
the start, even as she volunteered for deployment, but
that she did not favor the quick withdrawal that some
Democrats seek.

"I think we broke it and we need to fix it," she said.
"We have a commitment and an obligation to make sure
that we help Iraqi security forces be able to maintain
their own security. We need to come up with an
aggressive plan based on benchmarks for when we're
going to leave."

Ms. Duckworth's opponent in the primary, Christine
Cegelis, a software engineer who won 44 percent of the
vote against Representative Hyde in 2004, tried to put
a positive spin on a campaign by so high-profile a
contender, saying she hoped it would "give our race
the visibility that would not have been afforded to
me." State Senator Peter J. Roskam, the conservative
Republican whom one of the women will face next
November, declined to be interviewed but issued a
statement admiring Ms. Duckworth's "service and
sacrifice to our great country."

Ms. Duckworth lives with her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey,
an Army officer, in Hoffman Estates. Their home is
three miles outside the district she hopes to
represent, but Congressional candidates are required
only to live within the state.

She was one of very few women flying combat missions
in Iraq, until her Black Hawk was felled on Nov. 12,
2004. In between more than two dozen operations (she
says she lost count) while at Walter Reed, she
testified before Congress about military health care
benefits and was a guest of Senator Richard J. Durbin,
Democrat of Illinois, at this year's State of the
Union address. She can now walk up to a mile unaided
with her prostheses, but generally uses a cane and
spends some of each day in a wheelchair; she still
lacks full use of her right arm.

"Amputees fall down a lot - it's just the nature of
being an amputee - so you'll probably see that," she
said. "I'm learning to tuck and roll really well."

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Deceit analyzed

The corporate media's pledge of allegiance: I pledge allegiance to the deceit of the American people and to Bush and the liars who are willing to shed other's blood for personal gain.
Bush Administration lies about Iraq deconstructed and analyzed here.
I Was Right

Before the war — when it mattered — I documented the Bush team's "techniques of deceit," but the major media weren't interested.

December 17, 2005
By Dennis Hans

John Edwards began his widely discussed guest column for the Washington Post, titled "The Right Way in Iraq," with these dramatic words: "I was wrong."

The former senator and vice presidential candidate now regrets his vote granting President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq in the event that Saddam Hussein thwarted peaceful international efforts to rid him of his presumed weapons of mass destruction and related programs.

The biggest mistake of Edwards and many other yes-voting Democrats as well as countless self-styled "liberal hawks" (many of whom release their droppings at the New Republic, Slate, Washington Monthly and American Prospect and might better be described as "easily suckered right-leaning centrists") was to take Bush at his word when he promised to give inspections a fair chance and go to war only as a last resort. Just because someone speaks plainly, looks you in the eye and gives you a firm, manly handshake doesn't mean he's trustworthy. Such behavior is characteristic of genuine straight shooters, but also of con artists.

Unlike Edwards and the liberal hawks, I was right. Despite never having won a MacArthur "genius" award, in a series of prescient pre-war essays dating from October 2002 (links and excerpts are presented in this "Greatest Hits" piece) I explained in great detail how Bush and his foreign-policy team were systematically and knowingly misleading Congress, the news media and the citizenry, and how most of the news media were letting the Bushies get away with it.

My writings cited and credited the exceptions to news media incompetence, slumbering and cowardice, including the Washington Post's Joby "Aluminum Tubes" Warrick, Knight-Ridder's Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, the Los Angeles Times' Greg Miller and Bob Drogin, and a non-journalist who did more than all the mainstream reporters put together: Glen Rangwala of England's Cambridge University. His pre-war writings, including a devastating dissection of Powell's U.N. presentation, are collected here.

I introduced the con-artist metaphor Oct. 19, 2002, in the essay "Grifter-in-Chief Bush Aided by Media's Wusses of Mass Credulity", which explained the process by which large sections of the public had come to believe two things — Iraq currently possessed a nuclear weapon and had participated in the 9-11 terror attacks — that the administration itself knew was not true and had not said so directly. It's all about the drumbeat, of one official pronouncement after another that overstates the evidence but not to the point of saying "Saddam has nukes" or "Saddam was definitely involved in 9-11" — and counting on the news media to treat such pronouncements respectfully.

My most widely posted and distributed pre-war piece was a 5,000-word opus titled "Lying Us Into War: Exposing Bush and His 'Techniques of Deceit'" (Feb. 12, 2003).

I documented 15 such techniques, the first of which was "Stating as fact what are allegations — often highly dubious ones."

I illustrated that technique with three examples, the first two from the Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union address, the third from Bush's Oct. 7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati. The lines may ring a bell:

"From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs."

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

"We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases."

I explained how those are examples of lying with verbs. "Know" and "learn" convey knowledge. In each case, neither the Bush or Blair administration knew any of these things for a fact. This was obvious AT THE TIME simply from what each administration stated was their source of knowledge: "defectors" on the mobile labs; unconfirmed "reporting" on the training; vague "intelligence"(a word that does not mean "proof") on Saddam's pursuit of African uranium — "intelligence" the Brits were not sharing with anyone, including the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, which was aggressively seeking "actionable intelligence" on that very matter.

How would Bush like it if our mass media presented as established fact the unconfirmed tabloid story that, after nearly 20 years of sobriety, he is again drinking heavily? In that case, the Bush team would very loudly remind the public that allegation is not fact, and it would berate any media outlet that didn't make that distinction.

Pretending an unconfirmed allegation is an established fact is LYING. Removing the caveats is LYING. Exaggerating for effect is LYING.

In each case, the speaker is intentionally conveying a false or misleading picture for the listener. It is this intent to deceive that is at the heart of lying.

Here are some other techniques of deceit I documented in "Lying Us Into War":

Withholding the key fact that destroys the moral underpinning of an argument; Misrepresentation/Invention; Delegated lying/Team lying; Straw man; Withholding the key fact that would alert viewers that the purported grave threat is non-existent; Using mistranslation, misquotation and context-stripping to plant a frightening impression in the minds of trusting citizens that is the exact opposite of what you know to be true; Putting the most frightening interpretation on a piece of evidence while pretending that no other interpretation exists; Bold declarations of hot air; Creating in the public mind an intense but unfounded fear; Citing old news as if it's relevant today, while leaving out the reason it's not; Transference; and Hallucinatory lying.

I also wrote about the administrations's knight in shining armor. In "An Open Letter to the U.N. About Colin Powell", posted the day before he addressed the Security Council, I laid out all the shady-lawyer techniques he was likely to use to mislead the world, and I showed that his track record marked him as a man not to be trusted.

I described Powell as "the ultimate 'team player' on a team that cheats" and raised the possibility he would stoop to presenting allegations obtained through torture. On both counts, Powell didn't let me down. Here's an excerpt:

"Powell's presentation will be in the form of 'here is the unvarnished truth as we understand it.' But his will be a case for the prosecution and should be viewed as such. He will present only those tidbits that strengthen his case while suppressing tidbits that undermine it — and he will have a great advantage over a prosecutor in an American court.

"You see, that prosecutor would earlier have taken part in what is called the 'discovery' phase. The rules differ by state and by type of case, but the idea is that both sides in a trial get access to just about all the information and evidence the other side has gathered. You, on the other hand, will not be privy to the mountain of evidence from which Powell has selected his damning tidbits. You won't have access to the material that places each accusation in its proper context, or the material that weakens or directly contradicts each accusation.

"Nor will you know if certain evidence is unreliable because it was obtained through torture. On Monday Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, wrote a letter to Powell urging him to denounce the use of torture and not to include in his presentation any 'information' obtained through torture or severe mistreatment. (An in-depth story in the Dec. 26 Washington Post, cited by Roth, indicates the administration now countenances torture.) Would the Bush administration permit U.S. intelligence agencies to torture directly and/or ship detainees to foreign torture centers in hopes of extracting the magic words 'Saddam and al Qaeda — all for one and one for all'? You might want to ask Secretary Powell."

The answer, we now know, is yes. And though Powell may not have known that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi cried "Uncle Sam" because of the threat or reality of torture by his Egyptian interrogators, Powell was surely aware of the possibility: months earlier he had lost the torture debate inside the administration.

Hours before Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, I explained something that is only now dawning on John Kerry and other dimwits of my own Democratic Party: "The Evidence Bush is Withholding Weakens, Not Strengthens the Case for War."

Inspired in part by what I had heard and read from gullible Bob Woodward, I wrote that "many in the news media are filing lame stories on the alleged dilemma facing the president - should he risk exposing intelligence 'sources and methods' to make the smoking-gun case against Saddam Hussein, or should he protect sources and methods even if it weakens his case? Such reporters are operating from a preposterous premise: This is an honest president in an honest dilemma, rather than a president who, when it comes to Iraqi policy, has never hesitated to misrepresent, exaggerate and lie."

I explained how the aluminum tubes were a perfect example. Bush's speeches gave nary a hint that those tubes could possibly serve a non-nuclear purpose, or that the specifications of the tubes made them a bad fit for nuclear centrifuges. Dr. Rice described the tubes as "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs." But the IAEA had said BEFORE the State of the Union address that the tubes were a good fit for Iraq's conventional rockets and, for a host of technical reasons, ill-suited for centrifuges. A few days before that address, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post penned a long story on the doubts of both the IAEA and U.S. government experts. Bush and all the people who signed off on that address and earlier ones were quite willing to leave viewers with a highly misleading impression.

On Feb. 19, 2003 I penned an advice column, "I'm Calling You Out," directed primarily at journalists. Here's what I told Bob Woodward:

"Go back and read pp. 124-29 of your 1987 book 'Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987.' Then write a front-page story about the precise parallels between the corruption of the intelligence process in 1981 under Reagan-Casey and today under Bush-Tenet."

And I recommended that all journalists . . .

"Never use the verbs 'think' or 'believe' when reporting what Bush administration officials 'say' about Iraq or Saddam. You do not know what these officials 'think' or 'believe'; you only know what they SAY they think and believe. Powell - the most credible administration official in the eyes of Americans and the world - almost certainly didn't 'believe' that Osama had formed a 'partnership' with Saddam when Powell went before the Senate and selectively quoted from Osama's latest message, leaving out the part where Osama calls Saddam an 'infidel' whose 'jurisdiction . . . has fallen.' If the most credible Bush administration official will deceive so brazenly - he knew that within hours the complete Osama transcript would be available worldwide - imagine what the 'less credible' members of this administration are capable of."

That's just the tip of my iceberg. I may have been ineffectual — thanks to countless rejections from incompetent or cowardly editors at mass-audience mainstream outlets, who when it mattered most were loathe to publish anything that challenged conventional wisdom and the administration's integrity. But I was right.

Dennis Hans is a freelance writer who has taught courses in mass communications and American foreign policy at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg; he's also a basketball shooting instructor. Prior to the Iraq war, Hans penned the prescient essays "Lying Us Into War: Exposing Bush and His 'Techniques of Deceit'" and "The Disinformation Age". He can be reached at

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Truth About George W. Bush

Great site

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mr. Bush; please speak streight so that we can believe you in the good as in the bad

Mr. Bush,you are the only president we've got and it's
going to be that way for another three years.
Republicans or Democrats, we are all standing with you
on the deck of the same ship of state-- the USA-- of
which you are the captain. So, please, believe me,
none of us are so suicidal and uncaring about our
families, neighbors and heroes in combat to wish to
see this American ship of ours wrecked on a perilous
reef. We want you to succeed in your policies in Iraq.
Speaking for myself, let me say that if you do
succeed, I owe you a great thanks for removing from my
mouth before I die the bitter taste of defeat in
Vietnam that I live with daily. So, sir, I pray
constantly for your success, as does every American.

Given that fact, I beg you, please stop bombarding us
with jingle-like speeches that sound like a coach's
locker room pep talk for a team down at half-time. All
those words of attempted encouragement are washed away
by the affirmation by General Mohamed Abdullah
Shahwani, Director General of Iraq's Intelligence
Service, (he's the counterpart to CIA DCI Porter Goss)
that there are 200,000 insurgents fighting us in Iraq.
According to Gen. Shahawi, "the resistance is bigger
than the US military in Iraq." The Pentagon had
insisted that the insurgents amount to only one tenth
of that, tops. But, according to our American field
commanders, Gen. Shahwani's figure, "is a valid guess,
with as much credence, if not more, than any US

Do you see why we can't trust anything Sec. of Defense
Rumsfeld said to us? His "metrics" are a sham; in the
words of the old adage: "figures don't lie, but liars
figure." And Mr. Rumsfeld had figured his way into
incredibility right from the start!

From the planning stages onward, Mr. Rumsfeld sought
to make the Iraq War his exclusive province, cutting
out from strategic decision-making more knowledgeable
CIA and Dept. of State experts. And so, under your
eyes, Mr. Rumsfeld had consistently misjudged every
step, right from the start. Recklessly he left our
forces desperately short and sent them into battle
intelligence-blind. How is it that, though you had
Gen. Powell in your Cabinet, the father of the Powell
Doctrine, (which said: to send in too much is
acceptable, to send in too little is unforgivable),who
led a fast victory over Saddam with minimal losses,
you-- the President-- allowed Mr. Rumsfeld's hubris to
put our heroes in such a fix by marginalizing Gen.

Gen. Tommy Franks liked to distinguish between taking
chances and taking risks-- taking chances is
acceptable but taking risks is unforgivable. Yet, once
Baghdad was taken, he didn't want the chances he took
to turn into risks, so he retired immediately, before
finding himself face-to-face with Saddam's resistance.

If you really wanted to level with the American people
in your four speeches, you should have discussed, in
at least one of the speeches you recited to us, how it
came to pass that from the time of "mission
accomplished," when all Iraq came to cheer us in the
street, to now, the insurgents have grown from nothing
to a force greater than ours. You should have
explained why you never learned from near disaster in
Afghanistan, instead sending our men into Iraq
intelligence blind, under-armored and under-manned.
You say you listen to your field commanders; but how
is it that they supposedly tell you that they have
everything victory requires while telling others like
Congressman Murtha that we are losing and must get

Just look at Vietnam for comparison. There, we also
went in intelligence-blind. Unable to distinguish the
peasant "sea" from the Viet Cong guerrilla "fish" in
the Mekong Delta, we plastered the countryside with
ordnance so that the survivors fled to the cites,
which we controlled. Thus, the "sea" drained out and
left the "fish" high and dry. It is thanks to the
likes of "Blowtorch" Komer, whose CORDS program
constructed five times as much as our military
destroyed, that the refugees became, what the
communists lamented to be "petits bourgeois"; starting
new urban lives, they sent their sons to fight the
Communists, hoping never again to become peasant
slaves under Red collectivization. In two short years
we transformed South Vietnam from 85% rural to 75%
urban. After Tet 1968, the Viet Cong ceased to exist;
to get us to leave, Hanoi had to engage its entire
army in regular combat from safe rear bases, where we
were not allowed to go, close to our perimeters.

Into Iraq we also went intelligence-blind. But once we
drove out Saddam's forces, Mr. Rumsfeld-- who hogged
this whole war to himself and his neocon bureaucrats--
didn't know what to do, so he did nothing. American
Colonels had to begin reconstructing Iraq out of
pocket. By order of Mr. Rumsfeld and his ignorant
neocons, our men stood helpless while criminals
looted, raped and murdered. In the meantime, Saddam's
guerrillas got into position. By the time they
attacked we couldn't even defend ourselves. Our lack
of boots on the ground was, as in Vietnam, supposed to
be compensated for by air power. It was said that we
used only "smart" bombs that minimized "collateral
damage." But, Mr. President, how "smart" could the
bombs be when the men who direct them are

In Iraq there is no countryside, only desert. So we
bombed the very cities in which lived the Iraqis.
Falluja we destroyed in order to save it. But, thanks
to Mr. Rumsfeld's hubris, there was no "Blowtorch"
Komer and CORDS to rebuild what we destroyed. As a
result, the ranks of the insurgency grew. Seeing no
future for themselves, many youths became suicide
bombers. The more people they killed, the many times
more people we killed, we because we had the power to
do it and we were too few and too intelligence-blind
to know who was whom. To defend themselves our
intelligence-blind soldiers found themselves killing
people they never wanted to kill. When you said that
30,000 Iraqis lost their lives, did you think of how
many more we killed than the insurgents killed? And it
wasn't our soldiers' fault, they were sitting ducks.
As I tried to say, it was all because of Rumsfeld's
and the neocons' ignorant hubris that they were forced
to shoot at almost anything that moved, under-manned
and under-armored.

I had so hoped that after the shedding of so much
blood and the waste of so much treasure you would have
convinced us about the future through your candidness
about the past. Yet, as I carefully read all four of
your recent speeches, all I see is an attempt at
damage control. Spin will not bring back the dead nor
the lost limbs and eyes. But frankness would have
convinced us that we finally learned and thus are
finally doing things right. Alas, seeing a few points
rise in the polls, you seem to be deceiving yourself,
as you recite speech after speech, that you
rhetorically mesmerized us into a blue smoke of feel
good. But, as the setbacks unfold, our stupor will
quickly recede and once more we will find ourselves in

Speaking to you as a fellow Christian who desperately
wants you to succeed, I can only pray that you will
find the courage to speak frankly, reporting the bad
news without sugar coating, thus making the good news
that much sweeter and, you the messenger, that much
more credible. I pray that God gives you the
inspiration to speak to us once more. But this time,
follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and speak
to us with humility, addressing us, your brothers and
fellow Americans, with unvarnished truth so that we
can feel confident in your steady hand at the helm in
the face of the torrents that await us. Together, we
can win; but only if we take things seriously and deal
with the facts as they are, not as we wish they were.

I beg you, Mr. President, try again; and this time,
speak from the heart so that we may share your
optimism and faith despite all the travails ahead of

Best wishes for you and your family on the Holidays

Daniel E. Teodoru

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Yahoo tracking you

Sharing a tidbit of information: >:o

Yahoo is now using something called "Web Beacons" to track Yahoo
users around the net and see what you're doing and where you are
going--similar to cookies. Yahoo is recording every website and every
group you visit.

Take a look at their updated privacy statement:
About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see
a link that says "web beacons".

Click on the phrase "web beacons". That will bring you to a paragraph
entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network."

In this section you'll see a little "click here to opt out" link that
will let you "opt-out" of their new method of snooping.

Once you have clicked that link, you are exempted.
Notice the "Success" message on the top of the next screen. Be
careful, because on that page there is a "Cancel Opt-out" button
if clicked, will *undo* the opt-out.

Feel free to forward this to other groups.

War on Christmas

Ask any American who's been unemployed for nine months this year thanks
to our "steadily rising" economy how merry their Christmas will be.

Or ask one of the thousands who found out this summer just how little
their government cares about their safety, when their incompetent and
callous president deserted them for days and days in a horrific flood,
as corpses floated by in a river of filth and vandals had their way with
the town. Those who were lucky enough to survive had little or nothing
to return to. Now the cameras are off and the whole episode has faded
predictably from the public mind. But somewhere countless families are
struggling merely to put their lives back together, many so poor they
could not have afforded cars to escape the storm that displaced them.
How plentiful do you think their Christmas celebrations will be this year?

Or ask a soldier whose tour of duty has been extended indefinitely
thanks to quasi-legal "stop-gap" policies so that a group of powerful
men who never served can continue their power grab / geopolitical
experiment. What a lovely gift.

Or, more importantly, why don't we ask the thousands of parents,
husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and best friends who won't spend this
Christmas with someone they love. Or, for that matter, any other
Christmas. Ever. Because that person died by bullet or bomb, thousands
of miles away, in a place they should never have been sent. Every kid
who was deprived of a parent will grow up knowing that other more
fortunate kids weren't. Those kids' parents had the luxury of "other

Now ask any of these people if they give a damn about what the BUSHES
put on their STUPID HOLIDAY CARDS. I dare you.

The next time any bobblehead talks about the "war on Christmas," you can
wholeheartedly agree.

Then be sure to identify its real targets

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Christian's plea to a fellow Christain GW Bush at Christmas

Mr. Bush, you just don't get it!

You have this strange belief that the American people
are impervious to facts and that are only starving for
your speechwriters' words of reassurance that all is
well and you are in charge. Based on this assumed
anemia on the part of the American people,
demonstrated as doubts about you in the polls, you
chose to impose on them a massive diarrhea of words
from your speechwriters, transfused massively to us
through a series of speeches on the Iraq War. Yet, all
are the same slippery words oddly defined, quantifying
adjectives that you later qualify into contradictions,
and a constant reordering of the same phrases into
different constructs that say nothing new. That's not
the problem, you are missing the point of the popular
doubts about your administration.

Let me try and explain it to you with an example:
imagine that you are a surgeon who suddenly decides to
perform a cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder)
on a patient. But instead of making your incision in
the right upper quadrant of the belly, you turn over
the patient and try to get to the gallbladder from the
back. Soon after you make your incision you suddenly
notice that there's a kidney blocking your way. So you
come out and tell the family that the patient has a
kidney that's in the way of the gallbladder, so you
must remove it. Possibly, not knowing anything about
anatomy and trusting you, the family sais: well,
you're the surgeon, whatever you say has to be done,
go ahead and do it. But what about the surgical
resident serving as your first assistant? what about
the scrub nurse? what about the anesthesiologist? what
about the circulating assistant? All these people know
that what you are doing was gravely wrong from the
start. They can't in good conscience support you as
you seek to proceed. For them the issue is no longer
that you didn't explain what you wanted to do; for
them the issue is your COMPETENCE.

Now imagine that, in retrospect, it is discovered that
you had no evidence that the patient had any
cholecystitis making the cholecystectmy necessary. You
only made your decision based on the old adage of the
three Fs, assuming that cholecystitis tends to occur
most often in patients that are: Fat, Female and
forty; your patient qualifying for all three, you
decided this patient would need the operation. Again,
the issue over you judgment is again, COMPETENCE.

Well sir, the question thus becomes, should anyone who
has carefully watched what you have done up to now,
trust you to insist on having your way, or just to let
someone else take over the case, close the incision,
turn over the patient, clinically prove that the
patient needs a cholecystectomy, and proceed to do it
with the incision in the right place; or, should you
be left to compound your originally demonstrated gross

Nobody wants the patient to die. But maybe it's time
for you to consult more able surgeons on how to
proceed, like your European colleagues. But, for that
to happen, you must once again be SAVED by Jesus

I know that, after a profligate worthless life you
claim to have been saved by Jesus. I for one was so
impressed when I heard you say that during the 2000
Republican primaries debate that I called Mr. Rove and
asked how I can help make you president. Your
humility, in admitting to having sunk low and risen
again through Christian Salvation, your claimed
devotion to giving all fallen folks a chance at
self-salvation, your open avowal of Christ as your
personal hero and the Bible as your favorite book, all
signaled to me great honestly, courage and devoutness.
So when Mr. Rove apologetically told me that the
Northeast was not in your 2000 electoral game plan I,
right there and then, planned my retirement to
coincide with your 2004 re-election campaign in order
to devote full time at my own expense proving that ALL

But it seems that your superb and inspired performance
as the leader that binds our wounds and unites us
after the 9/11 catastrophe went to your head and you
forgot that God came down amongst us mere mortals, to
suffer hopeless pain and degradation to death,
specifically to prove to us that our salvation lies in
HUMILITY. Your greatest flaw was to have fallen from
salvation, never realizing that the way to salvation
is humility. You suffer, therefore, from classical
arrogance, assuming that Jesus saved you to put you in
charge; and so, sinfully, you equate God's will with
your gut feeling-- never struggling with problems and
studying them intently, as humble mortals do, in order
to become COMPETENT, but instead following your "gut"
and pretending that it was "God" speaking to you.

So, as a fellow Christian, I must propose to you that
you have once again fallen from the salvation you had
found-- down into a hubris that totally blinded you to
your recklessness. And the victims of that hubris are
your fellow Americans whom you are not supposed to
lead like sheep but convince like individuals whom you
respect as your fellow Americans. For they are your
masters, not you their master. You may well have
sinned into thinking of yourself as if the same as
Christ leading the flock to Salvation. But the
salvation of democracy you promised has proved to be
bloody, costly and painful incompetent simply because
it is arrogant instead of humble.

Please, Mr. President, as a fellow Christian, I can
understand your wayward arrogant ways, for we all err,
we all sin. I am in no position to cast you down, for
like you I too am a sinner. So I wish instead to ask
God and you to forgive my rage of disappointment with
you and ask you to consider that we all will forgive
you in turn if you suddenly add honest introspection
an genuine humility into your next speech. You are the
captain of the ship of state on which we all stand.
None of us benefits from it smashing on the reef. So I
feel sure that if you came to us, the crew, and
exposed your terrible errors of arrogance, we would
all have more, not less, faith in you, as we all had
at the time of our 9/11 national trial. Humility means
that you are stopping to look, carefully, not just
following your gut. It means that you consider critics
as advisers, not detractors. And, having shown the
wisdom to accept humility in your heart, you surely
will have the wisdom to lead us out of the Iraq mess
into which your hubris has brought this nation and the

So Mr. President, please-- I ask you as a fellow
Christian who to this day am pained deeply by my rage
of disappointment with you-- let the humility of Jesus
Christ save you once more. THEN, He will show you the
way and will inspire us all to consider your honest
humble but wise thinking as our leader as THE WAY to
get our nation back on track.

If you are able to show humility, then I am too, for
we both are guided by the same Savior. So then, I
then, with glee in my heart, would crawl from the door
of thew White House, on my belly, to your desk in the
Oval Office to kiss your shoes and ask your
forgiveness for my years of rage of disappointment and
doubt since you went into Iraq. I do this not as a
suppliant, but I do it as an act of humility modeled
after my Lord when he washed the feet of others. He
was thus telling us that none of us can look down on
other of us, nor give up on each other. So long as
there is life in us there is hope in us all. We must
at all times respond to good faith with good faith,
rather than biased judgment. I would want you to see
the joy on my face as I crawl to you. For in doing so,
I would, along with you, celebrate your salvation from
hubris and thus liberate myself from my own. It is
then that I can rise and joyously run out to the
street to tell my fellow Americans the "good news":
OUR George Bush is back as we once all knew him!

I can assure you that on this, the celebration of our
Lord's humble human birth-- a day when he gave us his
first sign of holy humility-- I will be praying for
your salvation-- the time when you can come and
testify before us your brothers of your escape from
hubris and the finding of shelter and inspiration in
humility. May God guide your thoughts as you face the
heavy burdens as President none of us has to face.

Daniel E. Teodoru

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Open letter to O'Reilly

Larisa Alexandrovna

Blog Index <> RSS


Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly: It's Bill of Rights, Not Bill's

READ MORE: Ann Coulter <>,
News Corp <>, Rupert Murdoch
<>, Fox News
<>, Bill O'Reilly

Dear Mr. O'Reilly:

We all know that you make a living selling the "victimization of hate"
concept, a not entirely new genre in scapegoating. Germany in the
1930's, for example, already had a horrifically successful run at it. So
while not original, somehow you still manage to make a fortune spewing
the kind of filth that would even make the Soviets blush.

Everyone is quite aware of your penchant for lying, in frequency only
second, perhaps, to Ann Coulter's proclivity for self-hate, pathetically
heaved up and served like poison in hopes of making everyone as bitter
as she is.

Your hate bravado, however, is something that requires a whole new
category, and Fox News selling this filth only illustrates what I have
always believed to be true about corruption and greed: Namely, both
matter more than Christian values and both have no nationality.

(Perhaps when the Lincoln <> and Rendon
<>Group contracts are up, someone might consider
taking a closer look at Fox News and what, if any, type of contract they
may have with the military industrial complex. Sure, it is easy to write
this garbage off as a bid for ratings, but given the extremism,
anti-American sentiments, and real and absolute contempt for all things
truly American that are regularly displayed on your show, it is doubtful
you are merely churning up the numbers. Even hate consumers apparently
have a limit.).

But I digress.

In truth, Mr. O'Reilly, for all your ravings about who is a traitor and
who is not, you forget the most basic definition of treason, and you
also seem to forget where that definition is located. I suggest you turn
to the actual document that this nation is built on, the Constitution
(not the Bible), which starts with something called the Bill of Rights.

Now, while you have managed to make racial slurs against anyone who
simply prefers to use one word over another to refer to a specific
holiday, you may have missed something key in this particular document,
the Constitution, that is. You may have missed that allegiance to and
defense of the Constitution is the first responsibility of a patriot,
followed by allegiance to and defense of the nation. Note: The country
as a whole is second to the Constitution on the loyalty scale. Against
this backdrop, the real stage of history, you, Mr. O'Reilly, would fall
very much on the wrong side of the good fight.

Consider your incessant rage against the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), for example, an organization that you call "traitors" on a
regular basis. You call so many people and organizations traitors that
it is hard to choose just one, but the ACLU does provide the easiest of

Do you know what the ACLU really is or what it is for? I suspect that
you must have spent oodles of hours researching this particular
organization to be able to so thoroughly and consistently refer to them
as traitors, right?

Bill Learns Reality, 101

The ACLU has one and only one client, a non-partisan, wholly American
client: The Bill of Rights.

Now, given that patriotism must first demand the defense of the
Constitution before anything else (see my column on being an American
one could argue quite easily that the ACLU is the patriot in this
argument and you, Mr. O'Reilly, are the traitor. No?

After all, they are simply doing what every American is tasked with and
should be doing, defending the reason and foundation for this country,
while you are demanding an all out assault on that very same reason and

The same ACLU that you decry as traitors is made up, astonishingly
enough, of Republicans (read: real Republicans, not theocrats or
neo-fascists), Democrats, Independents, and every shade of political
thought in between a Democracy and a Republic.

The ACLU's membership numbers in the millions and is made up of
Christians as well as Jews, Muslims, and so forth.

In case you should require additional proof that the evil, liberal,
ever-plotting ACLU is anything but, consider that one of their clients
is none other than Rush Limbaugh
<>. Now it can
hardly be said that old Rush is part of some grand left wing conspiracy
- right wing probably, left wing, not hardly.

The waters are a bit muddied here, so perhaps I can better help you
clarify your real objection to the Bill of Rights - and extended to all
actual Americans - by asking you a series of questions.

For brevity, I will only cover the First Amendment:

"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it
is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be
orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to
confess by word or act their faith therein," Justice Robert Jackson
(West Virginia v. Barnette

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

On Free Speech: While you seem to enjoy the benefits of free speech,
clearly you are unwilling to share that right with others. Is this the
correct interpretation of why you are waging a war against the Bill of

On Religion: While you seem to respect the pomp more than the actual
substance of religion, you still would rather see only your religion
practiced and only with your narrow practice, is this correct? Is this
the correct interpretation of why you are waging a war against the Bill
of Rights?

On a Free Press: Your own position on a so-called news channel should
prove without doubt that freedom of the press has extended even to the
bowels of payola, confusion, misinformation, and a general brothel of
crap floating on the outer banks of decency and anything remotely
resembling human reason. Is it correct to say that you want to secure
the right of a free press so long as it is made of the type of sewage
that flows out of Mr. Murdoch's toilet? Is this the correct
interpretation of why you are waging a war against the Bill of Rights?

On Peaceable Assembly: While you and your backers meet at every
nanosecond to determine the most cost-effective way to keep hate
prettily packaged, you find it repugnant that others would meet for
non-profit-related reasons. You seem to find it horrific that Americans
(Christians and Jews and Muslims alike) should stand peacefully against
an illegal war, yet you take no issue with working for a corporation
willing to sell those same Americans into death for profit. You even
attack grieving mothers who gave their sons and daughters for this
country as traitors. Are you afraid of your own cowardice in the face of
such courage? Is this the correct interpretation of why you are waging a
war against the Bill of Rights?

On Redressing Grievances: So your position then, given your absolute
loathing of the First Amendment, is that the government (the people's
government), should ignore its constituents, deprive them of a right to
be heard, and in general run largely disinterested in or unaccountable
to the citizenry? Let me remind you what our founding fathers thought of
King George, that other George, who was just as arrogant and indifferent
as the current one:

"In every state of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress
in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered
only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by
every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a
free people."

The above is from still another important American, real American,
wholly American document: the Declaration of Independence

But really, let's get down to the marrow of it: What is your problem
with this particular section of the First Amendment? Are you opposed to
the right to redress grievances because such a right might compel a
company such as the one you work for to be accountable for its own
abuses? Is this the correct interpretation of why you are waging a war
against the Bill of Rights?

I do not expect that you will answer these questions, because in doing
so you would either expose yourself as an utter and complete buffoon (to
your fans that is) who can barely keep his loofah afloat every morning
or you would expose yourself as an opportunist of the worst kind (to
your fans that is). Whatever the reality of your embedded psyche and
moral compass may be, you can trust that the majority of the public is
smarter and more honest than you are. Your fans will get a grip on
reality eventually because even the most inane of us has some ability to
eventually think.

So feel free to channel and express your inner Joe McCarthy. I suspect
that you will be nothing more than a footnote to the national
embarrassment that we now see McCarthyism as. Imagine that, your entire
life nothing more than a footnote to a national disgrace and the epitome
of un-American.